After nearly a decade’s worth of innovation, Johns created Flags II—a tour-de-force lithograph that re-contextualizes the artist’s most iconic motif. As art historian Richard S. Field has written, “Of all the flag prints, none possesses the feeling of depth found in this version” (R. Field, Jasper Johns: Prints 1970-1977, exh. cat., Wesleyan University, 1978, p. 38). Completed in 1970, Flags II epitomizes Johns’s continued mastery over his chosen subject. For an artist named after a hero of the Revolutionary War, it is no surprise that the most potent and enduring motif Johns chose for this re-evaluation has been the American flag. In addition to making flags in different media, Johns experimented with a number of different formats: superimposed flags, flags paired with blank fields, flags drawn backwards, the flag doubled or stacked on top of another, in ever greater and more complex permutations. Here, Johns depicts two flags arranged vertically within an evocative gray field. The topmost flag is rendered in green, orange and black, while another flag, placed lower down and partially cut off by the paper sheet, provides its black and-white counterpart. The orange, black and green flag is a recurring subset within Johns’ flag oeuvre, a sly parody of the well-known optical trick in which an after image of red, white and blue appears from staring at its orange, black and green twin.